The Week That Was: September 12-16

You Gotta Love MDA Members

Work life for all of us has it’s ups and downs, ebbs and flows. For me, one of the ups is being with MDA members. This week was chock full of interactions. Don’t be upset if I left someone out because there were a lot of names. Follow along below for the fun highlights.

Prize Patrol — Springfield

Monday morning Halie Payne, MDA Director of Professional Affairs, and I headed down to Springfield loaded with balloons and cupcakes for our first surprise attack. We were presenting the MDA 2022 Dentist of the Year Award to Dr. Tara Cash. It was a family affair as father, Dr. Jerry Cash, met us in the parking lot just before we barged in to make the announcement. Shay Cash, office manager and Tara’s sister, was in on the sneak attack and the whole staff was there to clap and celebrate. Evidently, it’s hard to surprise Dr. Cash. Her leadership roles in the Greater Springfield Dental Society and the MDA plus her charitable work earned the nomination and win for this prestigious award. After a tour of her stylish orthodontic practice, we had lunch and talked shop with both Dr. Cash’s. I just love seeing what our members care about and do with their spare time. Dr. Cash loves design and it showed in her office.  Congratulations, Dr. Tara!

Top 3 Takeaways

Who doesn’t like things boiled down? I was on an ADA call this Tuesday where we heard presentations from a variety of people. On the communications report, they shared a slide about what’s new this year. The top three issues were workforce shortage, insurance and dental utilization, and the importance of Value and Values. We are seeing these pop up everywhere! Do you agree? I dare say you will hear a lot more in the coming months. It’s exciting to hone in on key issues.

Advocacy and Values Front and Center with Dental Students

On Thursday, my colleague, Halie Payne, spoke to D1s and D2s at UMKC about the value of advocacy and how it works as part of ASDA Fever Week. These volunteer student leaders did a great job making arrangements. Halie related well to the students who were happy to engage over some Raising Canes chicken. She asked how much they knew about the Dental Practice Act. Turns out, not much! That’s exactly the point. Their job is to focus on dentistry and our job is to provide value by helping them with complex regulatory issues. Another interesting revelation came when Halie asked what do they value in their professional dental organization. For years the answers given were advocacy, CE opportunities, leadership development, practice success, etc. The answers centered around kindness, trust, customer service, integrity and such. That’s a generational shift change and the MDA needs to learn how to best meet those values.

Prize Patrol — St. Joseph

After the ASDA lunch we shot up to St. Joe to surprise another dentist. This time was more challenging because retirees are hard to wrangle. With the help of former practice partner and good friend, Dr. Tim Taylor, we were able to get MDA 2022 Distinguished Service Award winnerDr. Tim Curry, to his old office. Then we barged in with cameras rolling and announced the good news. He was so excited and gave a very moving and impromptu acceptance speech where he lauded how involvement in the MDA enriched his career tremendously. We almost teared up! We got to a visit a minute in the office. These two were MOMOM Co-Chairs back in 2019 and our local meetings were held in their office. The practice continues to hum along with Dr. Susan Charles and recent grad, Dr. Harrison Smith, handling most of the day-to-day work. Cheers to you, Dr. Curry!

The Main Event

Thursday night was a blast as we attended a GKCDS social for New Dentists. Sam Silvey, ED, put together a fun event at the Main Event, a big place to play all sorts of arcade and indoor games. We took over some bowling lanes and laughed and connected over food and drink while occasionally rolling a ball somewhere toward the pins. Not to be rude, but our scores all reinforced our career choices in dentistry, LOL! Adding to the fun was the exciting Kansas City Chiefs game on TV and several prize giveaways. I think everyone won something. I saw some faces like MDA ND Committee members, Dr. Garret Cochran and Dr. Ryan Bland. And I met many new faces as well. I hope I get names correct: Drs. Richard Campos, Ashley Deacy, Russell Gardner, Nancy Ha, Erica Ketchum, Marcus Ramos-Pearson, Matthew Wendahl, Shawn Snider, Rachel Wezka and Jeff Slutskiy. Plus we had some lovely plus spouse and newborns as well. I was reminded of the value of gathering. It’s never easy when life is busy, but you could tell from the tone that people loved meeting colleagues.

Foundation Board Gathers

Today the MDA Foundation Board led by Chair, Dr. Darren Mahaffey, held their falling meeting and it was a busy one. They elected Vice Chair, Dr. Kirk Opdahl and Treasurer, Dr. Jeremy Bowen to join Dr. Mahaffey in officer roles. They put forth three new candidates that the MDA Board will approve in November. They passed the 2023 budget and most importantly, they hashed out all the complex dimensions around MOMOM and how we approach access to care. This is a talented and caring board. Thank you for your volunteer leadership!

The Week Ahead

No rest for the weary, as the Prize Patrol makes it’s final stop and later in the week, I head to Cape Girardeau for some golf and a business meeting with the SEDS folks. It’s always a good time and MDA President, Dr. Tom Stone, will join me. Later that week still, Dr. Stone and MDA Lobbyist, Olivia Wilson, will join our NWDS members for a meeting. Travel, travel!

Quote of the Week

“Are you kidding me? What an honor. Thank You” — all our wonderful Prize Patrol recipients

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